Help! Penn vs Chicago


Hey MAB79,

I agree that Penn has a great law school, which is highly regarded and would be an excellent place to pursue an LL.M. But I can assure you that Chicago has a significantly stronger reputation, at least in the US. In fact, Penn Law is considered by many to be quite overrated. Brian Leiter is something of a guru on law-school rankings and you can see his view on this question here: http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2008/01/which-top-schoo.html

Although the US News rankings are correctly criticized (the overall ranking reflects an arbitrary assignment of respective values across numerous areas of comparison), the reputation scores are meaningful.

Lawyer/judge reputation scores:

1. Harvard University (4.8)

1. Stanford University (4.8)

1. Yale University (4.8)

4. Columbia University (4.7)

4. University of Chicago (4.7)

6. New York University (4.6)

6. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (4.6)

6. University of Virginia (4.6)

9. University of California, Berkeley (4.5)

9. University of Pennsylvania (4.5)

Academic reputation scores (professors' rating of schools):

1. Yale University (4.9)

2. Harvard University (4.8)

3. Stanford University (4.7)

4. Columbia University (4.6)

4. New York University (4.6)

4. University of Chicago (4.6)

7. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (4.5)

8. University of California, Berkeley (4.4)

8. University of Virginia (4.4)

10. University of Pennsylvania (4.3)

I could post links to clerkship and academic placement, which shows a dramatic difference between Chicago & Penn, but this has already become a long post.

As for the Ivy League issue, you misunderstand my point. I never said the Ivy League law schools were not very good. I said that Ivy League status is an immaterial point of distinction between the top US law schools. Penn is not better than Georgetown because the former is an Ivy League and the latter is not. It's because the former has developed a superior reputation in the legal field, has a better faculty, and is more selective. Similarly, Stanford is always ranked ahead of Columbia because its faculty is better, it's more difficult to get into, has better placement, and is regarded as being more prestigious within the legal community. Columbia's being an Ivy League is irrelevant to this calculus. Ultimately, the Ivy League is an undergraduate athletic conference for leading east-coast schools. How is that supposed to tell you that Penn's graduate program in law might be preferable to Chicago's?

This is not to say that people shouldn't choose Penn if they prefer that school for some reason important to themselves. But that reason should not include Penn's having an equivalent reputation to Chicago.

Hey MAB79,

I agree that Penn has a great law school, which is highly regarded and would be an excellent place to pursue an LL.M. But I can assure you that Chicago has a significantly stronger reputation, at least in the US. In fact, Penn Law is considered by many to be quite overrated. Brian Leiter is something of a guru on law-school rankings and you can see his view on this question here: http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2008/01/which-top-schoo.html

Although the US News rankings are correctly criticized (the overall ranking reflects an arbitrary assignment of respective values across numerous areas of comparison), the reputation scores are meaningful.

Lawyer/judge reputation scores:

1. Harvard University (4.8)

1. Stanford University (4.8)

1. Yale University (4.8)

4. Columbia University (4.7)

4. University of Chicago (4.7)

6. New York University (4.6)

6. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (4.6)

6. University of Virginia (4.6)

9. University of California, Berkeley (4.5)

9. University of Pennsylvania (4.5)

Academic reputation scores (professors' rating of schools):

1. Yale University (4.9)

2. Harvard University (4.8)

3. Stanford University (4.7)

4. Columbia University (4.6)

4. New York University (4.6)

4. University of Chicago (4.6)

7. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (4.5)

8. University of California, Berkeley (4.4)

8. University of Virginia (4.4)

10. University of Pennsylvania (4.3)

I could post links to clerkship and academic placement, which shows a dramatic difference between Chicago & Penn, but this has already become a long post.

As for the Ivy League issue, you misunderstand my point. I never said the Ivy League law schools were not very good. I said that Ivy League status is an immaterial point of distinction between the top US law schools. Penn is not better than Georgetown because the former is an Ivy League and the latter is not. It's because the former has developed a superior reputation in the legal field, has a better faculty, and is more selective. Similarly, Stanford is always ranked ahead of Columbia because its faculty is better, it's more difficult to get into, has better placement, and is regarded as being more prestigious within the legal community. Columbia's being an Ivy League is irrelevant to this calculus. Ultimately, the Ivy League is an undergraduate athletic conference for leading east-coast schools. How is that supposed to tell you that Penn's graduate program in law might be preferable to Chicago's?

This is not to say that people shouldn't choose Penn if they prefer that school for some reason important to themselves. But that reason should not include Penn's having an equivalent reputation to Chicago.
quote
dmannell

hey Randomfella,

Thank you!!! I will carefully read again all of your comments and the stats you have provided in the next days and weeks and make up my own mind. But as you said the Chicago option is extremely appealling and attractive!!!

I will definitlely apply to the TOP 5 and see how it goes. As I said, if I dont get in, Ill head most probably for Chicago:)

Many thanks for taking the TIME to write those insightful and useful comments!

PS. Montreal is really a cool city to be, however, it has always been a dream of mine to work and live in the US for a while and then come back home!

Cheers!

hey Randomfella,

Thank you!!! I will carefully read again all of your comments and the stats you have provided in the next days and weeks and make up my own mind. But as you said the Chicago option is extremely appealling and attractive!!!

I will definitlely apply to the TOP 5 and see how it goes. As I said, if I dont get in, Ill head most probably for Chicago:)

Many thanks for taking the TIME to write those insightful and useful comments!

PS. Montreal is really a cool city to be, however, it has always been a dream of mine to work and live in the US for a while and then come back home!

Cheers!
quote

One final point re: "Top 5 is top 5 and Top 5 is top 5 since like forever...so, I think these 5 are far above the other unis"

Chicago has always had superior reputation scores than NYU and, in fact, UofC was ranked in the top 4 for a long time. In the mid-1990s, the US News editors revised their formula for computing overall score to include per-capita expenditures. NYU spends a lot more than Chicago by this metric, which is why it ranks ahead of Chicago (despite Chicago's having stronger reputation scores, equivalent LSATs, and a lower admission rate). Thus, it'd be a mistake to think that the current "top 5" is a relevant distinction.

One final point re: "Top 5 is top 5 and Top 5 is top 5 since like forever...so, I think these 5 are far above the other unis"

Chicago has always had superior reputation scores than NYU and, in fact, UofC was ranked in the top 4 for a long time. In the mid-1990s, the US News editors revised their formula for computing overall score to include per-capita expenditures. NYU spends a lot more than Chicago by this metric, which is why it ranks ahead of Chicago (despite Chicago's having stronger reputation scores, equivalent LSATs, and a lower admission rate). Thus, it'd be a mistake to think that the current "top 5" is a relevant distinction.
quote
MAB79

Hey MAB79,

I agree that Penn has a great law school, which is highly regarded and would be an excellent place to pursue an LL.M. But I can assure you that Chicago has a significantly stronger reputation, at least in the US. In fact, Penn Law is considered by many to be quite overrated. Brian Leiter is something of a guru on law-school rankings and you can see his view on this question here: http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2008/01/which-top-schoo.html

Although the US News rankings are correctly criticized (the overall ranking reflects an arbitrary assignment of respective values across numerous areas of comparison), the reputation scores are meaningful.

Lawyer/judge reputation scores:

1. Harvard University (4.8)

1. Stanford University (4.8)

1. Yale University (4.8)

4. Columbia University (4.7)

4. University of Chicago (4.7)

6. New York University (4.6)

6. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (4.6)

6. University of Virginia (4.6)

9. University of California, Berkeley (4.5)

9. University of Pennsylvania (4.5)

Academic reputation scores (professors' rating of schools):

1. Yale University (4.9)

2. Harvard University (4.8)

3. Stanford University (4.7)

4. Columbia University (4.6)

4. New York University (4.6)

4. University of Chicago (4.6)

7. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (4.5)

8. University of California, Berkeley (4.4)

8. University of Virginia (4.4)

10. University of Pennsylvania (4.3)

I could post links to clerkship and academic placement, which shows a dramatic difference between Chicago & Penn, but this has already become a long post.

As for the Ivy League issue, you misunderstand my point. I never said the Ivy League law schools were not very good. I said that Ivy League status is an immaterial point of distinction between the top US law schools. Penn is not better than Georgetown because the former is an Ivy League and the latter is not. It's because the former has developed a superior reputation in the legal field, has a better faculty, and is more selective. Similarly, Stanford is always ranked ahead of Columbia because its faculty is better, it's more difficult to get into, has better placement, and is regarded as being more prestigious within the legal community. Columbia's being an Ivy League is irrelevant to this calculus. Ultimately, the Ivy League is an undergraduate athletic conference for leading east-coast schools. How is that supposed to tell you that Penn's graduate program in law might be preferable to Chicago's?

This is not to say that people shouldn't choose Penn if they prefer that school for some reason important to themselves. But that reason should not include Penn's having an equivalent reputation to Chicago.


Thanks a lot. Do not misunderstand me! I totally agree with you...I can refer to a statement I made earlier in a thread about rankings. There are also rankings on LL.M. programs showing that Cornell has one of the best programs...there are rankings of the princton review etc. Rankings are helpful but should only be regarded as one point in your decision taking...that is why I said, it depends on every single applicant etc.

As with respect to the reputation: I am pretty sure that you might be right regarding U.S. But in Europe for instance, I know that this is quite different (Penn has not a worse reputation than Chicago!). And I think in other parts of the world it might be different again...

But it is very interesting to read your points and I thank you for this view...

<blockquote>Hey MAB79,

I agree that Penn has a great law school, which is highly regarded and would be an excellent place to pursue an LL.M. But I can assure you that Chicago has a significantly stronger reputation, at least in the US. In fact, Penn Law is considered by many to be quite overrated. Brian Leiter is something of a guru on law-school rankings and you can see his view on this question here: http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2008/01/which-top-schoo.html

Although the US News rankings are correctly criticized (the overall ranking reflects an arbitrary assignment of respective values across numerous areas of comparison), the reputation scores are meaningful.

Lawyer/judge reputation scores:

1. Harvard University (4.8)

1. Stanford University (4.8)

1. Yale University (4.8)

4. Columbia University (4.7)

4. University of Chicago (4.7)

6. New York University (4.6)

6. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (4.6)

6. University of Virginia (4.6)

9. University of California, Berkeley (4.5)

9. University of Pennsylvania (4.5)

Academic reputation scores (professors' rating of schools):

1. Yale University (4.9)

2. Harvard University (4.8)

3. Stanford University (4.7)

4. Columbia University (4.6)

4. New York University (4.6)

4. University of Chicago (4.6)

7. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (4.5)

8. University of California, Berkeley (4.4)

8. University of Virginia (4.4)

10. University of Pennsylvania (4.3)

I could post links to clerkship and academic placement, which shows a dramatic difference between Chicago & Penn, but this has already become a long post.

As for the Ivy League issue, you misunderstand my point. I never said the Ivy League law schools were not very good. I said that Ivy League status is an immaterial point of distinction between the top US law schools. Penn is not better than Georgetown because the former is an Ivy League and the latter is not. It's because the former has developed a superior reputation in the legal field, has a better faculty, and is more selective. Similarly, Stanford is always ranked ahead of Columbia because its faculty is better, it's more difficult to get into, has better placement, and is regarded as being more prestigious within the legal community. Columbia's being an Ivy League is irrelevant to this calculus. Ultimately, the Ivy League is an undergraduate athletic conference for leading east-coast schools. How is that supposed to tell you that Penn's graduate program in law might be preferable to Chicago's?

This is not to say that people shouldn't choose Penn if they prefer that school for some reason important to themselves. But that reason should not include Penn's having an equivalent reputation to Chicago.</blockquote>

Thanks a lot. Do not misunderstand me! I totally agree with you...I can refer to a statement I made earlier in a thread about rankings. There are also rankings on LL.M. programs showing that Cornell has one of the best programs...there are rankings of the princton review etc. Rankings are helpful but should only be regarded as one point in your decision taking...that is why I said, it depends on every single applicant etc.

As with respect to the reputation: I am pretty sure that you might be right regarding U.S. But in Europe for instance, I know that this is quite different (Penn has not a worse reputation than Chicago!). And I think in other parts of the world it might be different again...

But it is very interesting to read your points and I thank you for this view...

quote
MAB79

One final point re: "Top 5 is top 5 and Top 5 is top 5 since like forever...so, I think these 5 are far above the other unis"

Chicago has always had superior reputation scores than NYU and, in fact, UofC was ranked in the top 4 for a long time. In the mid-1990s, the US News editors revised their formula for computing overall score to include per-capita expenditures. NYU spends a lot more than Chicago by this metric, which is why it ranks ahead of Chicago (despite Chicago's having stronger reputation scores, equivalent LSATs, and a lower admission rate). Thus, it'd be a mistake to think that the current "top 5" is a relevant distinction.


And again: You are right...and once again: I do not doubt the reputation of Chicago at all! There is no other uni in the U.S that had more novel price winners! But there are some countries where NYU and UPenn mean more than Chicago just because of the critizized US News ranking etc.

<blockquote>One final point re: "Top 5 is top 5 and Top 5 is top 5 since like forever...so, I think these 5 are far above the other unis"

Chicago has always had superior reputation scores than NYU and, in fact, UofC was ranked in the top 4 for a long time. In the mid-1990s, the US News editors revised their formula for computing overall score to include per-capita expenditures. NYU spends a lot more than Chicago by this metric, which is why it ranks ahead of Chicago (despite Chicago's having stronger reputation scores, equivalent LSATs, and a lower admission rate). Thus, it'd be a mistake to think that the current "top 5" is a relevant distinction.</blockquote>

And again: You are right...and once again: I do not doubt the reputation of Chicago at all! There is no other uni in the U.S that had more novel price winners! But there are some countries where NYU and UPenn mean more than Chicago just because of the critizized US News ranking etc.
quote

Quite right about rankings. At the end of the day, there are probably as many views as there are people! And lest I give the wrong impression, Penn is an excellent law school, which deserves its reputation.

Perhaps you're right about Europe & the Ivy League. Outside of the US, people mightn't be as familiar with the individual reputations of each law school and would thus use Ivy League affiliation as a useful heuristic.

Quite right about rankings. At the end of the day, there are probably as many views as there are people! And lest I give the wrong impression, Penn is an excellent law school, which deserves its reputation.

Perhaps you're right about Europe & the Ivy League. Outside of the US, people mightn't be as familiar with the individual reputations of each law school and would thus use Ivy League affiliation as a useful heuristic.
quote
dam

Hey Dam,

I have applied to Columbia and got rejected. do you think a year of working experience in a top Canadian law firm might tip the balance in my favour?

Thanks!


Hi dmannell,

Based on what I saw at Columbia and on my knowledge of fellow Italians doing an LLM in America during my stay there, I would say that top LLM admission officers consider work experience in a top law firm as a great plus, perhaps one of the strongest factors in favor of an applicant besides grades.
While it is not true that CLS admits only people with work experience, the overwhelming majority (more or less 70-80%) come from very well known law firms.
Adding things like "I work for one of the top 5 law firms by revenues in my country" or stuff like this is, in my opinion (and I did not have that advantage at the time), one of the smartest things you may do in order to improve the chances of your application (the other being obtaining - or being enrolled to - a PhD, boasting some publications; or working for some fancy supranational-international organization: European Union, UN and its agencies, international courts, glamorous NGOs etc.).

<blockquote>Hey Dam,

I have applied to Columbia and got rejected. do you think a year of working experience in a top Canadian law firm might tip the balance in my favour?

Thanks!</blockquote>

Hi dmannell,

Based on what I saw at Columbia and on my knowledge of fellow Italians doing an LLM in America during my stay there, I would say that top LLM admission officers consider work experience in a top law firm as a great plus, perhaps one of the strongest factors in favor of an applicant besides grades.
While it is not true that CLS admits only people with work experience, the overwhelming majority (more or less 70-80%) come from very well known law firms.
Adding things like "I work for one of the top 5 law firms by revenues in my country" or stuff like this is, in my opinion (and I did not have that advantage at the time), one of the smartest things you may do in order to improve the chances of your application (the other being obtaining - or being enrolled to - a PhD, boasting some publications; or working for some fancy supranational-international organization: European Union, UN and its agencies, international courts, glamorous NGOs etc.).



quote
dmannell

Hey dam,

Thats exactly my plan to work for a top 5 law firm in Canada. If that does not happen, I should have a job lined up with a big bank (corporate department) or the Canadian Embassy or Insurance company in my city in order to boast my candidacy!!

Thanks again for your comments!

Hey dam,

Thats exactly my plan to work for a top 5 law firm in Canada. If that does not happen, I should have a job lined up with a big bank (corporate department) or the Canadian Embassy or Insurance company in my city in order to boast my candidacy!!

Thanks again for your comments!
quote
c.ronaldo

chicago!

chicago!
quote
petersta

Chicago

Chicago
quote

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